Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Patmos 1980

We'd walked for miles that day,
foolish young people on an island,
wanting to get to the other side.
Foolish and young and heedless. And by the time we reached
the rocky barren shoreline,
dusty, dehydrated, the sun was
high high in the sky, the rocks
splitting with mid-summer heat -
and us with no food and no water.
Silly kids. Silly silly city kids.
We barely noticed the tiny house
tucked under the cliff, almost
part of the cliff. But the black clad
old woman noticed us, and beckoned:
"Ela. Ela"
She pulled water from a well,
in a metal bucket, poured
huge ladlefuls into cups.
"Poto. Poto"
Then tomatoes appeared,
each as big as a fist,
on a white enamelled plate.
"Efaristo" we said.
No tomato has since tasted sweeter,
no water as cold and as pure.
And she stands on the edge of the beach;
"Ela". "Poto"

Sunday, 27 April 2014


and if the world slowed
and mankind died away -
what then?

on a distant planet
in another galaxy
in another universe
a birth.
a coming to consciousness.

and during the growing years,
under the green skies,
bathed by the light of both suns,
he sometimes dreams -
of a strange land
where skies were blue,
and creatures flew in the sky
and he was at home...

Monday, 7 April 2014


Kept a catapult on the kitchen window cill, to fire pebbles at stray cats in the garden. Played harmonica, and piano, and violin. Played accordian, taught at Saturday School, and at Montgomery Street Infants and Juniors. Took me to Remembrance Parades each year, and to mass on Sunday, and after church, we'd walk through the half finished shopping centre, then on to Lyons Corner House for tea and toasted buns. Married once for love, and once for hope. Wore furs and stockings, and carefully cut her second husband out of every photo. Taking an extra moment to cut herself down a size or two. Baked a green cake at Christmas, to a secret recipe from home. Kept hyacinth bulbs in the dark cupboard at the foot of the stairs.
Nurse, mother, teacher, grandmother, wife - survivor.

Sunday, 6 April 2014


(Oil pastel on paper)
Two tiny eggs in a nest,
deep in the compost bin.
Woodlice in the woodpile.
Fat worms in the soil.
Dense buds on the cherry tree.
Time to plant seeds.
Time to turn soil.